WHEELING - Mother nature has not been kind to the Edgar Martin Beast of the East during its 25th playing.
To start, flash floods washed away five of the tournament's fields based in Moundsville, then on Friday afternoon showers made 28 teams run for their respective dugouts resulting in 16 game cancellations due to poor field conditions.
''Weather's always a problem,'' tournament director Bo McConnaughy said. ''We can't predict what's going to happen. We do a lot of things pretty well here, but we can't control the weather.''
Photo by Jim Elliott
Moundsville’s Ryan Walton dives in safely to third base prior to a tag by Base-A-Ball’s Wyatt Back during their game Friday during their Beast of the East game Friday at Monarch Field in Glen Dale. Rain wrecked the rest of the day.
John Marshall, West Liberty and Brooke High lost all of their afternoon and evening contests, while crews at the I-470 fields as well as Patterson Field worked to salvage the grounds in order for teams to get in some playing time.
Still, McConnaughy noted out of 170 scheduled games, 154 were played, which is ''not bad at all'' considering the forecast called for inclement weather during the entirety of the tournament.
''It rained pretty hard, but it only lasted about 15 minutes,'' he said. ''It just came down enough to get the fields wet. Actually, we're pretty fortunate that the fields had dried the last two days because we didn't get the rain they were calling for.''
When the showers do come, it's also hard to tell which areas will be effected.
''Some spots get rain and others don't,'' McConnaughy pointed out. ''It's hit and miss. We don't know where it's going to hit and how much is coming down. All we do is hope we have enough (good weather) to get the games in. That's how baseball is. You roll the dice every day you go and play because you don't know if it's going to rain or not.''
Furthermore, the question remains as to if the weather will hold off long enough for the fields to dry out in time for today's games.
''I don't know what the forecast is and I don't want to look at it,'' McConnaughy admitted. ''I don't want to know what's going to happen because (Thursday) it predicted rain and we didn't get any. It was a beautiful, sunny day and all the fields were dusty. Now they're all moist and damp.
''We'll just have to go with the flow and see what happens. Hopefully, you'll have until about 8 (Friday) evening for the sun to hit (the fields) and the wind and those guys working on it. We're hopeful, but I don't know what's going to happen over night.''